Celebrating the Arts, Inclusion, and Diversity—Alberta Culture Days Events in Edmonton
October 26, 2022
October 26, 2022
Stantec employee, Mila Philipzig, participated in Alberta Culture Days: a month-long celebration of culture, heritage, diversity, and community spirit
With a belief that communities are better together, Mila Philipzig, a senior project manager in our Edmonton, Alberta office, recently spoke at local community events. As a published writer and author, she knows stories need telling to bring a sense of belonging for everyone.
The John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights envisions a world where there’s a culture of peace and human rights manifested through education and dialogue, respectful relationships, equity and dignity, diversity and inclusion, and so much more. They accomplish this by involving children and young people in peace-building and human rights education, fostering adult learning and community collaboration through peace and human rights education and dialogue—as well as working with government, businesses, and organizations to strengthen their application of human rights. That’s where Mila comes in.
Mila was one of the speakers at the John Humphrey Paint the Rails Human Library event for Alberta Culture Days. Alberta Culture Days is an opportunity to discover, experience, and celebrate arts and culture through local events and activities held in person and online across the province for the entire month of September. The human library event gave students, teachers, and members of the community a chance to learn about the stories behind five beautiful public murals painted throughout Edmonton LRT and transit stations, and in the Paint the Rails Legacy Book. The human library's goal? To provide opportunities for students, teachers, and the community to engage with stories shared in the murals and the book that speak to Edmonton's strength, resilience, and settlement.
“It was an honour to be part of the John Humphrey Centre’s growing resources for teachers and students to document and share stories that need telling, especially from underrepresented and immigrant communities,” Mila said. “Listening to each other, we see how our differences and similarities interweave to shape and grow our city in very humane and positive ways.”
Mila also spoke at the Polyglot Magazine issue launch at Alberta LitFest, a literary festival celebrating nonfiction that’s held every October in Edmonton. Avid readers connect with writers through a series of live events, great conversations, and exciting gatherings for 11 days. Named Alberta’s Best New Magazine in 2021, The Polyglot has proudly published 188 writers and artists working in 51 Indigenous and Heritage languages in the last five years.
Not only has she published five children’s books, four of which are bilingual (Filipino-English), Mila has also translated two children’s books from Filipino to German. Beyond writing for children, Mila has poetry, personal essays, and articles published in various magazines, anthologies, and podcasts in the Philippines, Canada, and Germany.
“Being able to publish and perform poetry using one’s heritage language not only enhances one’s sense of belonging and acceptance, but also raises awareness of the cultural richness and diversity in Edmonton,” Mila said. “I welcome every chance to participate in these events and share stories and perspectives from my cultural community.”
This year, Mila received recognition from the Government of Alberta of being nominated for the Alberta Newcomer Recognition award for Inclusive Workplaces.
Mila believes that inclusion and diversity must always go hand in hand, because promoting and supporting diversity in the workplace does not always translate into an inclusive environment. Mila wants to help advance an understanding of inclusion and equity as a member of our Inclusion and Diversity Council, and as a member of the Persons of Color subcommittee, she is committed to fostering meaningful discussions and assisting in the implementation of programs to combat racism and social injustice.